I once met a mysterious guy at a dingy coffe house “ABC coffee house”. The coffee house was located somewhere between KTDA Plaza and development house along Moi avenue in Nairobi. He gave me some random wise words that still resonate today. The crowning moment of his speech came at one of my lowest points of my life, little education, jobless, in a strange land, and business doing badly. He said “success is like a road. It’s a journey you have to travel. The road must have corners, although corners do not last long, and neither are they longer than the straight paths”. That was way back in April of 2007.

This reminds me that it’s not the big things that coubt, it’s those small steps you take in life that propel you to greater heights. Remember, first you have to row a little boat.

To try is to risk failure, not to try is to guarantee it

According to investopedia.com, leadership is the ability to make sound decisions and inspire other to perform well. My definition of Leadership is the intrinsic ability to bring out the best in all team members by putting the group’s different talents to work for the betterment of a situation. Leaders are trustworthy, and demonstrate to their followers that they trust them. A leader is able to see a better world and convince others to join in his vision.
Leadership includes inspiration, confidence, courtesy, a clear mind, and respect to others. Empowering followers is paramount to success of the leader. Leadership also includes giving guidance, and consultancy. Leaders have the ability to share their vision, purpose and passion with others so that others can do remarkable things that they didn’t believe they could do. Some people have described this phenomenon as the reality distortion field. A good example is when Henry Ford directed his engineers to cast an engine with 8 cylinders in one block. The design was drafted but the engineers agreed, to the last man, that it was an engineering impossibility to cast an 8 cylinder engine in one piece. But Ford persisted and it led to the famous V8 motor.
Leaders have foresight to see the future needs of an organization and they have the commitment to move with the vision, making the leader greatly respected.
An icon of the 21st century that I greatly admire his leadership style is the late Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple computers. His resilience when odds were against him, his unrivaled work ethics, his humble upbringing, his ability to question the status quo, his vision to change the world, and his unwavering believe that whatever man can conceive, he can achieve. This is a man that had major carries setbacks, but he bounced back to the topmost positions in corporate America with indisputable financial and popular support to Apple products, with a cult following to boot. This is a man, according to his own words “put a dent on the universe” thought the revolutionary products he produced. He said “My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products”. Sarah McInerney of Sidney Morning Herald observed that Jobs was a passionate advocate for his vision and incredibly effective at communicating this to shareholders, customers and staff.
A statement I find great inspiration from was a 1997 advertisement by Apple Inc called Think Different where they refer to the leaders who change the world as “The misfits … The round pegs in square holes … The ones who see things differently, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people, who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”.
If you look at all the inspirational leaders of the near past, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr., Mother Teresa, and Henry Ford, you will see the same traits mentioned by the Apple Inc advertisement. These are People who believed they could change the world, and they did.

I have learned several leadership lessons in my line of work, and from observing successful leaders. My favourite lesson is never to stop learning. The more knowledge you acquire, the more you’ are able to solve life’s problems either in the organization or at a personal level.

Lesson two is that a leader needs to seek for advice. We should realize that we don’t posses the sum of all human knowledge, and when we seek for advice, we will see the world through another persons view. Consultations make other team members feel that they are appreciated and meaningful in the overall scheme of things. Good leaders are those that can listen. It’s puzzling how LISTEN is an anagram for SILENT!
Lesson three is being decisive because after you have lived the greater part of your life, you will only regret the things you never did. Decisiveness is based on the premise that better to try and fail than never to have tried at all. Decisiveness also means that there is no one way of doing things correctly. Different leaders can take different approaches and still arrive at the same goal.

Lesson number four is confidence which can also be termed as burning the ship. This is best espoused by the Spanish Warrior Hernán Cortés who is claimed to have burned his ships during battle so as to cut all sources of retreat for his troops. Confidence entails moving as if failure is not an option; as if failure does not exist. Confidence is the unwavering belief that you will succeed whatever the challenges you face.

Lesson number five is team work. Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said “We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall hang separately.” Team work is the principle that you will achieve more in the long run if you cooperate in tasks than if you work alone. If you go alone, you will go fast, but if you go as a team, you will go far. A good demonstration is a Marathon race where athletes run in groups, with pacesetters leading the pack. This way, the race is faster, covers greater distance, and the athlete that keeps to the group is likely to win the race which is a gruelling 42 kilometres. In the contrary, the 100meters race is very short, but the athletes run with individual effort, at super-human speeds. With such individuality, you cannot go far.

Lesson number six is having ambitious goals. Without ambition, man has no difference with other primates. James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies called this principle Big Hairy Audacious Goals “BHAGs”. A leader should understand reality but give hope to the team, dream big, and pursue those dreams. All the greatest inventions in the world from the Piano, to the light bulb, to the Airplane were all because of ambition.

Lesson number seven is concentrate on one task and give it undivided attention. When you are distracted from your goal, you will loose focus, your target might take forever to achieve, or it might be superseded by other events. Apple Computers have employed this lesson very successfully by concentrating on very few products, but at the same time ensuring that the few products they concentrate on have the best quality in the market.

Lesson number eight is encouraging growth within the team, and boosting others self esteem. When the team is empowered, it means that you can perform more since even with the absence of a key individual, others will be able to fit into those shoes, and the performance will not be affected. Encouraging growth also helps with succession. A company with good succession ensures Knowledge is transferred between team members.

While growing up, we used to live next to a white family with fiery dogs, probably pure breed German Shepherds. I never got to know the name of the old lady of the home, but she had an old grandfather-like servant called Baba Nduva. Now in the same compound as us lived a large nuclear family called the Tendenis. White man’s dogs don’t live by leftovers. Baba Nduva’s Master ensured she stocked the leanest of beef for her canines. Being sly, a contract not known to us was made between the Tendenis and Baba Nduva.The Tendenis used to take beef every waking day, a delicacy that could only be savored occasionally, maybe a fortnight for those of us who lived below the fabled one dollar a day.

Tendeni was a man towards his pension, with three sons and four daughters, and a wife to say she was overweight is an understatement. Once in her bedroom, I fitted into one of her underwear and it was bigger than a child wearing his father’s suspenders. I could not comprehend the purpose of the rug sagging on my pelvis as I held the hip level-band with arms stretched above my head, until the older daughter reprimanded the youngest one for letting me fit into the underwear. The things kids do!

Back to Baba Nduva. One of the Tendeni’s daughters would stand by the live fence and shout, “Baba Nduva, Baba Nduva …” Occasionally they would call for more than an hour not knowing Baba Nduva had gone to Nakuru’s Bondeni estate for Chang’aa, a locally brewed potent alcohol. The fiery dogs on the other side of the fence would bark continuously the whole while, as if to say “dare steal our meal”. But Baba Nduva would come staggering back home from his drunken stupor and have his way, and sell the dog’s meal for a song, no matter how hard the canines protested. He was assured of a steady income to maintain his drinking habit.

Based on a True Story. All characters are fictional, any semblance to real people dead or alive is purely coincidental.

Should we in Kenya lie to ourselves that we are a leading ICT destination in Africa? Lying to ourselves has the positive effect of creating momentum, good International Public Relations, and much needed media coverage. In the past ten years we’ve seen a flurry of business angels and venture capitalists hawk the landscape in search of the next MPESA. That has had a positive impact on the ICT space with several innovations getting noticed and funded. Actually, many of the innovations hubs have thrived because of riding the “ICT wave” that Kenya is the final destination in Africa when it comes to ICTs. And because the hubs thrive, they help to cement that notion by walking the talk. The many Apps competitions like DEMO Africa, and PIVOT East too have thrive because of the same notion, and stimulate our young people to develop great applications. And the cycle continues.

Kenya has become a launchpad for Africa’s commercial strategy for Tech firms, as Kenya grows it’s influence as the regional tech hub powerhouse. Multinationals like the IBM (research lab), Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Bharti Airtel have all noticed and setup regional hubs in Kenya because of confidence in us. While in Indonesia for the 8th IGF as an Internet Society Ambassador, I met a Fijian lady who was praising Kenya for being the silicon valley of Africa. Indeed, a Kenyan Bernard of nikohapa.com won the AfriNIC/SEED Alliance FIRE award for the best application in the region.

Remember, according to some CNN article by Todd Leopold, (http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/02/us/american-exceptionalism-other-countries-lessons) Americans lag behind in many academic and social measurements. They are number 27th in Mathematics, 50th in life expectancy, 72nd in paying taxes, and 173rd in infant mortality yet they are number 1 in self confidence, and they literally rule the world. Rwanda too is riding on the wave of good international PR, my thesis is, after 30th years, it will be Africa’s Singapore. We need that confidence, PR and international goodwill to rub on us. I don’t mind if we lie to ourselves.

We owe much of the gains of the last 10 years to the optimism that swept the country after the 2002 elections, and the pragmatism of President Kibaki who realised the value of PR for the country, and Dr. Ndemo’s action oriented approach in growing the ICT sector (remember the impossible undersea cable and the dream Konza Technology city).
Vision 2030 too was part of that optimism. I hope and pray that the Uhuru regime will capitalise on the gains made, and move us to even greater heights.

Finally, lets celebrate the young Kenyans who spend countless hours in University of Nairobi Nokia lab and innovation Lab, Strathmore’s iLab, iHub, Nailab, mLab, e.t.c. This guys have made Kenya a technology tourism destination, and contributed to the confidence we enjoy now.

I met a Kenyan in hell,
Who recited to me,
His experiences,
Before departure …

“We have had problems,
of bad leadership,
since time in memorial.
All our leaders,
betray us.
Kenyatta was a sell-out.
He pretended,
to be a freedom fighter,
went to the UK,
married a white woman,
worked for dog years,
then came back as a hero…
After 9 years in Jail,
we saw him fit to rule.
He dined with the oppressors;
then thanked the mau-mau,
With nothing,
and set a culture
of people worshiping him.
Every public place bared
either his name,
the name of his son,
the name of his wife,
or the name his cronies.
Central province became
the richest place to be.
It still is.
Coffee became the most prized,
black gold.
Kenyatta acquired land
larger than Rwanda.
And gave his cronies,
some more.
Half the cabinet was his tribesmen.
Anybody who opened,
His mouth,
Ask JM
Ask Mboya,
Ask Pio,
Ask … more …
Kenyatta happened to join me.
He was the light of Kenya
His son is an MP.
The leader of opposition.
The president in waiting,

Moi came.
He promised,
to follow the footsteps.
And he did.
and set a culture
of people worshiping him.
Every public place,
every school,
every hospital,
every road,
every cemetery,
every ward,
every bridge,
bared his name.
He created an airport,
In the desert,
Tea became,
the most prized,
black gold.
Coffee died,
Still dead,
Moi acquired land
larger than Rwanda.
And gave his cronies,
some more.
Half the cabinet was his tribesmen.
More naming and renaming.
More land.
Anybody who opened,
His mouth,
More killings.
Ask Ouko,
Ask Ochuka,
Ask Muge,
Ask .. Clashes.. Clashes..
And more.
And … many more ..
And ..Wagala,….
Prices inflated.
Deflation never,
happens in Kenya.
He auctioned,
The country,
To the highest bidder,
Half the Cabinet,
was his tribesmen.
Moi went.
His son is an MP.
He is an expert polo player.
He imported,
more cars,
than general motors,
duty free.
He is the happiest man,
on earth.

Kibaki came.
Still has,
larger land,
than Burundi.
A professional golfer.
He served,
Both Moi,
And Kenyatta,
All his Ministers were,
professional golfers too.
Prices inflated.
Deflation never,
happens in Kenya.
He auctioned,
The country,
To the highest bidder,
Look at,
Security contracts,
And …. More ….
Half the cabinet,
is his tribesmen.
He created,
half a million jobs,
in river road.
And killed the traders,
in riots with the police.
And put patrols,
in river-road.
Asians can afford to trade
without fear.
Kenyans can afford,
to run,
without stopping.
Because when they stops,
a bullet ………….
The vicious cycle,
continues ………….
More killings,
Then, some more
Ask Mbai ..,
Ask Kisumu residents,
Inspired by Tuju,
Ask … more …
will never learn,
Kenyatta ii,
Is waiting,
Moi ii,
Is waiting,
Mudavadi ii,
Is waiting,
Ngala ii,
Is waiting,
Mirugi ii,
Is waiting,
Nyaga ii,
Is waiting,
Odinga ii,
Is waiting,
A culture,
Of the,
Ruling class,
Waiting to,
Follow the,
We are not,
In the third stage,
Nor the second,
Part one is nearing,
The end,
Then part ii,
Who will make,
The ruling class,
Who will stop,
I dropped down,
in exhaustion,
And passed,
the baton……..”

What the list of the super-rich dropouts signifies is that in business, a top degree is not as important as having the right aptitude, attitude, determination, vision, and consistency.

Nearly all this dropouts are philanthropists in the educational sector. They don’t want you dropping out and becoming a competitor.

A college dropout is someone who has matriculated in an institution of higher learning, but has left his or her studies unfinished without the intention of completing.

College Dropout Parental Advisory Misleading Content. Do not drop out of college.

The BIG question is “what % of college dropouts become millionaires? 0.5%? Maybe 1%” These people HERE are just exceptions, although you can join the COLLEGE DROPOUTS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION! here

This has become, in some cases, a status symbol given the success of some famous college dropouts.

Please read on to get captivated.
The bottom line, NEVER GIVE UP. You also can make it

Follow up:

Michael Saul Dell

Michael Saul Dell (born February 23, 1965 in Houston, Texas) is the founder of Dell, Inc., the world’s largest computer manufacturer.
Dell is the son of an orthodontist and grew up in a well-to-do Jewish family. He had his first encounter with a computer at the age of 15 when he broke down a brand new Apple II computer and rebuilt it, just to see if he could. Dell attended Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, where he did not excel scholastically. Reportedly one of his teachers, still currently teaching there, commented to him that he “would probably never go anywhere in life.”
After graduating high school, he attended the University of Texas at Austin intending to become a physician. While at the university, he started a computer company called PC’s Limited in his room in Dobie Center.[1]
The company became successful enough that, with the help of an additional loan from his grandparents, Dell dropped out of college at the age of 19 to run the business full-time. In 1987, PC’s Limited changed its name to Dell Computer Corporation. Over time, and despite a number of setbacks (including laptops that caught on fire in 1993, temporarily losing the consumer market to Gateway in the mid 1990’s, and others), Dell survived to become the most profitable PC manufacturer in the world, with sales of US$49 billion and profits of US$3 billion in 2004. As Dell expanded its product line to more than computers shareholders voted to rename the corporation Dell, Inc. in 2003. On March 4, 2004, he stepped down as CEO of Dell but stayed as chairman of the board, while Kevin Rollins, then president and COO, became president and CEO.
Accolades for Dell include: “Entrepreneur of the Year” from Inc. magazine; “Man of the Year” from PC Magazine; “Top CEO in American Business” from Worth Magazine; “CEO of the Year” from Financial World and Industry Week magazines.
In the 2005 publication of the Forbes 400, Dell was listed as the 4th richest man in the United States and the 18th richest in the world with net assets of around US$18 billion. Dell resides in Austin, Texas with his wife, Susan, and their four children. Dell reportedly owns the 15th largest home in the world, worth an estimated US$18.7 million.

William Henry “Bill” Gates III

William Henry “Bill” Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is the co-founder, chairman, former chief software architect, and former CEO of Microsoft Corporation. He is also the founder of Corbis, a digital image archiving company. The Forbes international rich list has ranked him as the world’s richest person for the last twelve years straight. In 1999, Gates’ wealth briefly surpassed $100 billion making him America’s first centibillionaire.[3] According to the Forbes 2004 magazine, Bill Gates’s net worth was approximately $46.6 billion. When family wealth is considered, his family ranks second behind the Walton family.Bill gates
Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He is widely respected for his foresight and ambition.[6][7] He is also frequently criticized as having built Microsoft through unfair or unlawful business practices. Since amassing his fortune, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money (about 52% of his total fortune) to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000. In June 2006 he announced that he would move to a part-time role with Microsoft (namely surrendering the power of managing day-to-day operations) in 2008 to begin a career in philanthropy, but will remain as chairman.
Bill Gates, his wife Melinda and U2’s lead singer Bono were collectively named by Time as the 2005 Persons of the Year for their humanitarian efforts. That same year he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2006, Gates Foundation was awarded the Premio Príncipe de Asturias en Cooperación Internacional. In a list compiled by the magazine New Statesman in 2006, he was voted eighth in the list of “Heroes of our time”.[8]

Paul Gardner Allen was born in Seattle, Washington, to Kenneth S. Allen, an associate director of the University of Washington libraries, and Faye G. Allen. Allen attended Lakeside School, a prestigious private school in Seattle, and befriended Bill Gates, who was two years his junior but shared a common enthusiasm for computers. Together they monopolized the use of Lakeside School’s single minicomputer. In need of more computing power, Allen and Gates snuck into the University of Washington computer labs. They were caught but struck an agreement with lab administrators by providing free computer help to students. After graduation, Allen attended Washington State University, though he dropped out after two years to pursue his dream of writing software commercially for the new “personal computers”. He later convinced Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard College to found Microsoft.

And here’s something you probably didn’t know:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation currently provides 90 per cent of the world budget for the attempted eradication of polio.

Paul Gardner Allen

Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21, 1953) is an American entrepreneur who established himself by co-founding Microsoft with Bill Gates. He regularly appears on lists of the richest people in the world; as of 2006 he is ranked by Forbes magazine as the sixth richest, worth an estimated $22.7 billion, of which $5 billion is in Microsoft stock. He is the Chairman of Charter Communications and is a shareholder in Dreamworks Animation. He was recently invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Allen also owns two professional sports teams: The Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association.
He currently resides in Mercer Island, WA, USA.
Paul Allen has been single for his whole life. In 2005 New York Daily News reported that Paul Allen had been dating actress and former beauty queen Laura Harring co star of Mulholland Drive (movie) for about 6 months.

Lawrence Joseph Ellison

Lawrence Joseph Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, a major database software firm.

Ellison was born in New York City to Florence Spellman, a 19-year-old unwed mother who later placed her nine-month old son for adoption to her distant relatives. Lillian and Louis Ellison took him into their home, a two-bedroom apartment located in a modest lower middle class Jewish neighborhood in South Chicago. Ellison recalled to an interviewer that he had a warm and loving mother opposite to an austere and unsupportive father. At South Shore High School, he was a bright but inattentive student. At 15, he began a long-term relationship that lasted for five years and ended sorely—depending on whom is asked, he unsuccessfully proposed marriage either once or twice. He lasted until the end of his sophomore year at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but dropped out following Lillian’s death. After a summer in Northern California, he returned home to study at the University of Chicago but left after one quarter. Ending his attempts to finish college, he set out for California.

Ellison is reported to be one of the richest people in America by Forbes. In 2005, Forbes reported that Ellison has a net worth of around $18.4 billion, making him the ninth richest man in the world. For a short period in 2000, Ellison was the richest man in the world.[2] (In interviews, Ellison notes that his actual wealth — money that he could actually spend — is more like two billion dollars, and that if he tried to sell all his Oracle stock to realize his “net worth” the price of Oracle stock would fall to zero.) The book titled The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: Inside Oracle Corporation [3] has been published on him.
At his Woodside estate, Ellison married Melanie Craft, a romance novelist, on 18 December 2003. At the wedding, his friend, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, was the official photographer. Craft is Ellison’s fourth wife. He has a son and a daughter by a previous wife.
Private jet
Ellison has had several run-ins with San Jose Mineta International Airport concerning the noise from his private jet. The city of San Jose has a limitation on late night takeoffs and landings on planes weighing more than 75,000 pounds (34 tonnes), and Ellison has received several citations. In 2001, he was granted a personal waiver from this law.

* In 2004, Forbes listed the charitable donations of the wealthiest 400, and it showed Larry Ellison donates about 1% of his personal wealth – $151,092,103.

Stephen “Woz” Wozniak

Stephen “Woz” Wozniak (born August 11, 1950) is an American computer engineer turned philanthropist. His inventions and machines are credited with contributing greatly to the personal computer revolution of the 1970s. Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer with Steve Jobs in 1976 and created the Apple I and Apple II computers in the mid-1970s. The Apple II became the best selling computer of the 1970s and early 1980s, and is often credited as the first popular personal computer. Wozniak has several nicknames, including “(The) Woz” and “Wizard of Woz”. “WoZ” (short for “Wheels of Zeus”) is also the name of a company Wozniak founded. Woz also designed the classic Atari game Breakout. He is known for his introverted character, and he finds his level of celebrity somewhat annoying. He is also known as the “Other Steve” of Apple Computer, which is an obvious reference to the fact that he is a less famous “Steve” of Apple next to Steve Jobs.

Steven Paul Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs (born February 24, 1955) is currently the CEO of Apple Computer and is a leading figure in both the computer and entertainment industries. He co-founded Apple Computer with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1976, both which are of Jewish and Middle eastern descents. Jobs helped popularize the concept of the personal computer with the Apple II, and was one of the first to see the commercial potential of the GUI and mouse. He oversaw the integration of these technologies into the Apple Macintosh. He has also led Apple Computer through its recent resurgence.

“I do what is right at the moment” Steve jobs

Jobs has also been the Chairman and CEO of Pixar Animation Studios since its inception. Pixar is an independent film production company that has produced acclaimed animated shorts and features such as The Incredibles and Toy Story. It was recently acquired by The Walt Disney Company for $7.4 billion in stock. The transaction has made Jobs Disney’s largest individual shareholder and has given him a seat on Disney’s board of directors.

Jobs attended Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, and frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California. He was soon hired there and worked with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee. In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but he dropped out after only one semester. When speaking at a Stanford University graduation ceremony in 2005, Jobs ironically said to the new college graduates that, after dropping out, he remained at Reed auditing classes, including one in calligraphy. “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts,” he said.

When the then twenty-one-year-old Jobs saw a computer that Wozniak had designed for his own use, he convinced Woz to assist him and started a company to market the computer. Apple Computer Co. was founded as a partnership on April 1, 1976. Though their initial plan was to sell just printed circuit boards, Jobs and Wozniak ended up creating a batch of completely assembled computers, and entered the personal computer business. The first personal computer Jobs and Wozniak introduced was called the Apple I. It sold for $666.66 (in reference to the phone number of Wozniak’s Dial-a-joke). Its successor, the Apple II, was introduced the following year and became a huge success, turning Apple into an important player in the nascent personal computer industry. In May of 1980, Apple Computer released the Apple III, which met with less than stellar success, but in December of that year, with a successful IPO, Apple Computer became a publicly traded corporation, further boosting Jobs’s stature.
As Apple continued to grow, the company began looking for an experienced executive to help manage its expansion. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola, to serve as Apple’s CEO, challenging him, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?” That same year, Apple also released the technologically advanced but commercially unsuccessful Lisa.

January 24, 1984 saw the introduction of the Macintosh, the first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface influenced by Xerox PARC. The development of the Mac was started by Jef Raskin, and eventually taken over lock, stock, and pirate flag, by Jobs. The success of the Macintosh product line eventually led Apple to abandon the Apple II.

Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III

Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III (born November 19, 1938) is an American media mogul and philanthropist. He is best known for founding TBS and CNN, and his $1 billion pledge to the United Nations donated through his United Nations Foundation. Turner’s penchant for making controversial statements has earned him the nickname “The Mouth of the South.”
Turner’s media empire began with his father’s billboard business which he took over at the age of 24 after his father’s suicide. The billboard business, Turner Outdoor Advertising, was worth approximately one million dollars when Turner took it over in 1963. Purchase of an Atlanta UHF station in 1970 began the assemblage of the Turner Broadcasting System. His Cable News Network revolutionized news media, coming to the fore covering the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Turner was also in the news for his much publicized marriage to Jane Fonda as well as their subsequent divorce.

Turner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he was nine years old, his family moved to Savannah, Georgia. He attended the McCallie School, an unaffiliated Christian prep school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Colorful episodes from his life include being expelled from Brown University for having a female visitor in his room in 1960. At the university, Turner was an unspectacular student in class, though he was vice-president of the Brown Debating Union.

He is America’s largest private landowner, owning approximately two million acres (8,000 km²), which is greater than the land areas of the two smallest states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. According to documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, Turner’s land has a higher gross domestic product than the country of Belize. He also has the largest private bison herd in the world, with 40,000 head. In 2002, Turner co-founded Ted’s Montana Grill, a restaurant chain specializing in burgers made from fresh ground bison meat. In addition, Ted Turner is the founder of Cartoon Network.

Under his ownership, World Championship Wrestling became the only federation in history to outrate and outsell the McMahon family and their World Wrestling Federation.

After the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, Turner founded the Goodwill Games as a statement for peace through sport.
In 1998, Turner gave $1 billion in Time Warner stock to United Nations causes, founding the United Nations Foundation.

Ray Kroc

Many consider Ray Arthur Kroc (1902-1984) to be the founder of McDonald’s Corporation. This is not true. The restaurant chain was actually started by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, 15 years before Kroc.
That, however, is not the point. Even though the brothers established the principles of the fast-food restaurant, Kroc is the one who recognised its potential, buying them out in 1961 for a mere $2.7 million.
From ambulance driver to Hamburger King, Kroc dabbled in all kinds of trades. He happened to meet the McDonald brothers while working as a milkshake machine salesman.
He also tried, unsuccessfully, to convince another ambulance driver called Walt Disney to let him open a restaurant in the latter’s new venture, Disneyland.
When Time magazine released its list of the world’s most influential titans of industry, Kroc was prominently featured. He had, during his lifetime, amassed a fortune worth $500 million.

Henry Ford

Founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford (1863-1947) is better known for his hand in creating the American middle class.
He managed this by applying the concept of assembly line manufacturing to the mass production of affordable cars, promptly revolutionizing industrial production.
Born to Irish immigrants, Henry was the eldest of six children. He left home at 16 to work as an apprentice machinist, married, tried a bit of farming, ran a sawmill, experimented with internal combustion engines and eventually formed the Detroit Automobile Company with a few other investors.
When the company went bankrupt, he formed the Henry Ford Company, but was forced out by investors. He returned with the Ford Motor Company.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the fabulous Model T, here’s something everyone should thank Ford for. In 1926, he instituted the five-day, 40-hour work week. And the modern weekend was born.

Andrew Carnegie

Industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) is better known, today, as the steel tycoon who started over 2,800 libraries. His rags-to-riches tale is also among the most famous in American history.
After moving to Pennsylvania from Scotland, a teenage Carnegie worked hard in factories, invested his money wisely and, within a span of four decades, managed to gain control of a number of manufacturing plants that grew to become the Carnegie Steel Company.
He is equally — if not more — famous for his donations of over $350 million to further public education: an ironic gesture coming from a dropout.
The author Dale Carnegie was a distant relative, gaining fame for his 1937 bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People. And here’s another titbit to chew on: During the American Civil War, Andrew Carnegie avoided the battlefield by paying a replacement the sum of $850.

He is technically the founder of world renown Carnegie Mellon University

Kirk Kerkorian

Born in 1917, this Nevada billionaire is President and CEO of Tracinda Corporation. That may not ring a bell, considering he’s better known for two other things. One: Being one of the pioneers who shaped the city of Las Vegas as we know it. Two: Coming up with the concept of Megaresort – a resort integrating the services of a hotel and casino with dining, entertainment and shopping into a single venue.
Kerkorian was born to Armenian immigrant parents. He was a skilled amateur boxer who went on to fly airplanes, founding Transinternational Airlines and selling it for $104 million.
He first visited Vegas in 1944, as a pilot, and eventually bought a place there that eventually grew to accommodate the world famous Caesars Palace.
To cut a really long story short, he now owns and operates a great many properties, apart from other business ventures. And his is a tale that’s not over yet.

Richard Branson

British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson (1950-) is known for the Virgin brand, one that has seen success in all kinds of ventures.
His tale begins in 1970, the year he started a record mail order. A record shop in London came next, followed by the launch of Virgin Records in 1972. Virgin Atlantic Airways was formed in 1984, and Virgin Mobile launched in 1999.
Another thing this businessman is known for is his eccentric promotional habits. He has made a number of attempts, unsuccessfully, to fly around the world in a hot air balloon! In 2004, Virgin Galactic was launched — to take passengers into sub-orbital space.
Brandon supposedly considered running for Mayor of London in 2004, but decided not to. When the 2002 list of 100 Greatest Britons was announced, he stood tall at Number 85.

Dhirubhai Ambani

Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani (1932-2002) was born into the family of a schoolteacher. It was a family of modest means. When he turned 16, Dhirubhai moved to Aden, working first as a gas-station attendant, then as a clerk in an oil company.
He returned to India at 26, starting a business with a meagre capital of $375. By the time of his demise, his company – Reliance Industries Ltd – had grown to become an empire, with an estimated annual turnover of $12 billion!
Dhirubhai was, in his lifetime, conferred the Indian Entrepreneur of the 20th Century Award by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. A Times of India poll in the year 2000 also voted him one of the biggest creators of wealth in this century.
Dhirubhai’s is not just the usual rags-to-riches story. He will be remembered as the one who rewrote Indian corporate history and built a truly global corporate group. He is also credited with having single-handedly breathed life into the Indian stock markets and bringing in thousands of investors to the bourses.

Subhash Chandra Goel

Here’s something not many people know about Subhash Chandra Goel: The Zee chairman dropped out after standard 12.
Subhash Chandra started his own vegetable oils unit at 19. It was, in a manner of speaking, his first job. Years later, a casual visit to a friend at Doordarshan gave him the idea of starting his own broadcasting company. We all know how that story ran.
Chandra knew nothing about programming, distribution or film rights. What he did understand quite well was the Indian sensibility though. Funded by UK businessmen, Zee came into being as India’s first satellite TV network.
Today, it reaches 32 million homes, connecting with 200 million people in South Asia alone. The network also covers Asians in America, the Middle East, Europe, Australia and Africa, making this dropout a very rich one

It only seems it is men who drop out and succeed? So ladies, keep up with the books.

Nearly all this dropouts are philanthropists in the educational sector. They don’t want you dropping out and becoming a competitor.

I read of a man who stood to speakAt the funeral of a friendHe referred to the dates on her tombstoneFrom the beginning…to the end.He noted that first came her date of birthAnd spoke the following date with tears,But he said what mattered most of allWas the dash between those years (1981 – 2005)For that dash represents all the timeThat she spent alive on earth…And now only those who loved herKnow what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own; The cars…the house…the cash, What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…Are there things you’d like to change?For you never know how much time is left, That can still be rearranged.If we could just slow down enoughTo consider what’s true and real, And always try to understand The way other people feel. And be less quick to anger, And show appreciation moreAnd love the people in our livesLike we’ve never loved before.If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile.. Remembering that this special dash Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being readWith your life’s actions to rehash…Would you be proud of the things they say About how you spent your dash? If you have received this, it means that you aretruly special to the one that sent this to you. With no strings attached, is it possible for you to send it also to a buddy?I am glad that you’re in my life and part of my dash.

Ever wondered how hard we work to fill our lives with luxuries that we
hardly have time to enjoy?.


The luxury Cars, Land Cruisers, Rav 4’s; Mercedes that are parked 8 hours
driven 30 min to the office and 30 minutes back home 5 days out of 7 (i.e.
5 out of 168 hours in a week).... And whilst we sit on a Not-so-comfortable chair in a small room called an office your 7 Bed-roomed mansion lies idle with only the maid enjoying herself to the 'bacon and egg breakfast' relaxing on that very expensive Leather sofa that we only seat on when we get home... and being so tired we just doze
off to sleep anyway. When tired of work she takes a break, turns on the TV

and spoils herself with the fully subscribed DSTV, of course if she feels
bored she can always turn on that brand name Hifi and swing a bit.....

And whilst all that is happening where are you?... you are eating a cheap
take away lunch everyday, and oh by the way there is no breakfast really,
because its just a cup of tea a few slices of bread probably with some
left-overs from yesterday's supper (for the fortunate few). Every moment
you really wish it could just get to 4pm so that you can drive home and
join.the Maid!! (Poor you!)

So this is your miserable lot for the rest of your working life... by the
time you retire you'll have no pleasure in them anymore. By now your
children would have joined in the Rat Race of finding a good job working
very hard and never enjoying the fruits of their labours... its all vanity
isn't it?


“Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind.” – Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)

Written by Eric Kimani Image October 23, 2007: Myles Munroe describes potential as “unexposed ability… Reserved power… untapped strength… capped capabilities… unused success… dormant gifts… hidden talents… latent power… what you can do that you haven’t done… where you can go that you haven’t gone… who you can be that you haven’t yet been… what you can imagine you haven’t yet imagined… how far you can reach that you haven’t yet reached… what you can see that you haven’t yet seen… what you can accomplish that you haven’t yet accomplished.”

And he goes on to tell us that we are all capable of much more than we are presently thinking, imagining, doing or being.

In this regard, let me talk of self management capabilities. I have narrowed this down to what we need to do to stay visible and hence grow in our careers.

By visibility in career I mean the ability to be noticed for growth and promotion. I strongly believe that it is a person’s visibility or lack of it that will greatly determine one’s career growth.

So, what is it you must do to be visible?
Stay on the screen. Ensure that you are seen. That you are noticeable. In 2004, I had this junior woman walk into my office with a proposal on how to grow our market. She was truly junior in relation to my position as then, an MD.

It took great courage for her to walk through the hierarchy and bureaucracy, but she did and you know what? By the end of the year she was in Japan for a week promoting the company products. I had never seen her before the day she walked into my office.

I have followed her career growth and she is still growing. You must ensure your visibility by staying on the radar screen.

Offer to help sort out problems for others
One of the reasons I got promotions early in my career was because I often came up with suggestions of more efficient and effective ways of doing things to help others in what they did. I joined my first employer as a clerk.

The company had a huge backlog of statutory returns to be completed. No one was willing to do the work as it was mundane and added little to any key responsibility. I offered to do the work in my spare time. I recall days I worked till midnight. Luckily I was a bachelor then and youthful.

I have no doubt in my mind that this was the beginning of a stream of promotions within the company that saw me not only qualify for my CPA, but also reach the second highest position in finance within the company.

My ability to step out and help provide solutions kept me visible. I joined one of the companies as an internal auditor and by the end of my career with that company, I had been promoted to the highest level possible — the director of finance.

I remember my superiors then trusted me to initiate and oversee change in many areas. I owed my fast career growth to my ability to step in and offer solutions.

Remember, image is everything

How you act. How you dress is all important. You must act like a boss. You must dress appropriately for the position. About three years ago I joined the board of Help Age International in London as one of a truly global board of trustees drawn from all over the world. Since the other members of the board do not know me, I can attribute much to the image I portray for them to have unanimously agreed this year to elect me as the next chairman of the board.

You must support your superior’s success
Never bad mouth your immediate superior particularly to his own superior. This is a career trick many career builders overlook. It calls for diplomacy, particularly if you have a bad boss.

But the bottom line is the “boss is always right”! One of my key winning strategies in my career building has been my diplomatic support for my immediate bosses. And not all of them were nice, but I needed their support.

I recall in one company I worked and I had two accountants below me. One was supportive and hence learnt much from me, the other was not quite supportive and always felt sidelined, a fact that he often brought up to my superior.

After I left the company, the supportive junior was promoted to do my work, while the longer serving ever-complaining junior ended up leaving a few years down the line. Learn to make your superior look good in the eyes of his superior — you have everything to gain.


Mr. Eric Kimani

Career visibility is all about leadership, delegation and interdependence
You must learn how to “use” other people as your stepping stone — in essence good leadership. People who insist on doing it themselves will never get promoted because there will be no one to do what they do as well as they do it! Many people try to make themselves indispensable without knowing that the indispensability leads to their career stunting.

Although I made it to the very top of my career in finance, I can confess I have had under me far better financial managers than me. I have used (and continue to use) the principles of good delegation and inter-dependence to lead teams. Blow your own horn.

It is critical that your good work and abilities get noticed. I was recently amazed at the abilities and qualifications of one woman in my office. Had I seen her earlier, I would have given her greater responsibility and a faster career path. She is too modest.

In one of my previous jobs my greatest career break came with my blowing my own horn in a big way. I once wrote a proposal to our overseas head office suggesting a major cost-reduction scheme that would mean relieving my boss and giving me his job among other changes. This proposal was accepted without amendment!

Do not perennially seek authority from your boss to do things that are within your power
Superiors love action oriented people. People who suck up to the boss may temporarily succeed, but on the whole will fail. It may feel like you are doing a good turn, but believe me it is boring and reduces the confidence of your superior. I once had an immediate direct support who would consult me to spend Sh5,000.

He almost brought the company to a standstill with his insistence that as managing director I must approve almost everything. In contrast, I had a departmental manager who walked into my office often having made a decision to spend Sh1 million without consulting me! This manager has huge potential to grow his career and I will not be surprised if one day he makes CEO.

Learn new things. Read widely. Have much general knowledge. The world in my view is led more by the generalists than the specialist. It amazes me how much general knowledge successful people have.

Embrace change. For this generation for example few of you here tonight will make it to the next level if you cannot adopt electronic technology. I tell people that if it were not for my mastery (basic as it is) of modern technology, I could not achieve half of what I do today!

The future belongs to those who embrace change

Many of us are uncomfortable with change. Many of us do not want to pay the price. Three months ago, I attended a two hour class everyday for weeks to improve my skills on Microsoft products. I insisted that 60 of our top managers attend the classes with me. The effects are phenomenal and will be felt even more in future.

Be bold and courageous
Many times we think small of ourselves. We let fear rule our lives, refusing to acknowledge that we are, as human beings powerful beyond measure. Our potential is beyond measure if unlocked.

I recall a recruitment firm advertising for job in a largest and influential company. I took a bold step to apply at a time when it was rumoured that only those who had influence would get the job. I had no influential contacts.

I was shortlisted as an under-dog.
To everybody’s amazement I was appointed to the position! Courage and boldness will take you where others do not dare. In one of my previous jobs I was bold enough to suggest a thinly veiled scheme to the then MD that I wanted his job. He made it clear to me that the possibility was not there.

This forced me to look elsewhere for the growth I was seeking, with great success. There is no substitute for courage and boldness in career growth.

Hard work pays
Hard work is necessary. You must, however, strive to work smarter not necessarily harder. Never let others, particularly your boss, know how hard you work to get the results. This may, among other things, put doubt in his/her mind about your ability to cope at a higher level. Learn and understand the politics of your work environment, but make sure you do not get caught in it.

Make friends with junior staff
It is amazing how much your juniors know that can help you with your visibility! Personal secretaries of your bosses are key allies to your success. For every company I have worked I can call on most of the juniors and staff and they will step out to help.

In one company I worked for, the telephone operator/receptionist almost managed my personal house utilities even long after I left the company. However, never discuss your boss or the work environment with them. Just be friendly with and value them — the results will amaze you.

Leadership belongs to those who do the extra mile
Ordinary people do not spend much time on the extra mile. But whoever said you were ordinary? Finally, promise yourself that in the next few months you will practice some of these things. I promise you that you will not regret it. You will be amazed at what it will bring your way.

Kimani is the CEO, Sameer Africa.

A talk by Eric Kimani to the British Council Leadership Forum in Nairobi, Kenya on 19th September 2007

Distinguished guests ladies & gentlemen,

I am delighted to have been invited to come and share some thoughts with you.
Tonight I have chosen to address one of the topics you asked me to speak on-target setting or planning for success. This is a wide topic and I have chosen to provoke our thoughts on Personal Branding.

To answer the question why brand yourself I will narrate in short a chapter by Tom Peters the management guru in one of his books – “The Circle of innovation”.

He tells the story how in 1980 Percy Bernevik left his job in the US to take up the leadership of the giant Swedish engineering firm ASEA.
There he inherited a 2,000 –person headquarters. He pruned it quickly to 200 people!
In 1987 ASEA merged with Switzerland’s Brown Boveri to create the world’s largest Electrical engineering firm Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) inheriting Brown Boveri’s 4,000 strong headquarters. Six months later the headquarters was down to 200! As of 1998 the headcount had gone down to 140 down from 6,000. The message is that if it has not happened to you it soon will- 59 out of 60 of you and me here tonight are at risk and hence the need to brand ourselves!

How do we brand ourselves?

  1. 1. Keep time! As a general rule we have little respect for time. You give someone an appointment and they come half hour or an hour late. You call a meeting and half the people turn up late. Until you have a reputation for respect for time you will not project yourself as a powerful brand. I have chaired a professional committee for over 8 years and we meet from 7.30 to 8.30 a.m. and occasionally to 9 am. We have never started the meeting late or ended it late! I chair many others and I will be on time 99% of time. I have a reputation for keeping time. It is part of my branding effort. I have little respect for people who do not keep time. Ordinarily they are unreliable and weak brands. This is an area of life that is easy to improve. In some cultures like Germany, it is commonly taken as a personal affront to be late and they will cancel important business or social appointments on this score alone.
  2. To build a powerful brand of yourself you must be passionate at what you do. I once worked for a large tea company and my calling/visiting card besides my name had the inscription “Passionate about Tea”. And those who knew me will tell you I was passionate about it! I have heard someone comment that if I worked at Sameer with the same passion heaven would be the limit for “Yana”. I am intending to print new business cards screaming “Yana where the rubber meets the Road”! Like Martin Luther said once- if you are a sweeper sweep to the glory of God. I say if you are a teacher here tonight teach with passion; whatever your vocation give it your best. If you cannot account for the day don’t bother to wake up and burn energy and fuel through the Nairobi traffic. If you do not show up on time to passionately deliver a measurable product you will not be a powerful brand. I get to work often earlier than 6.30 a.m. to keep my brand equity higher than the competition! My friend Bill Lay the CEO of General Motors sometimes comes for coffee to my office before 7 a.m.! Martin Oduor Otieno the CEO of KCB Group gives me a 7 a.m. appointment! This is the branding I am talking about! These men are passionate about the work they do!
  3. You must learn how to deliver extra-ordinary service. You must be reliable to your customers- and this applies whether you are talking of a finance department staff, HR or any enterprise. For 10 year we have run a small family business with my wife in a service industry dominated by big competitor firms. Our customer base is largely what I would call the 5-star institutional market. Our customer retention in that decade has been close to 95% – the greatest reason for this is that we are reliable in service delivery! Most great managers and leaders are head hunted for their extra ordinary service delivery which portrays them as powerful brands.
  4. Understand globalization. I will never forget a picture that appeared in the Economist somewhere in the late 90’s showing a Maasai herdsman looking after his cattle with his legs traditionally crossed and talking on a mobile phone- it looked so distant then; it became a reality so soon thereafter. The world is not a global village anymore but a virtual one! Jobs are no longer limited to within borders. The boundaries are no longer in existence except in our politicized minds! Our competition for the jobs and market share is not local – it is global. Entrepreneurial competition is also now global. I am incoming chairman of Help Age International the leading global Non-Governmental Organization on ageing with headquarters in London. I fly out on a Wednesday night to attend board meetings and other functions on Thursday and Friday and I am back in Nairobi on Saturday night! I tell people to stop complaining about Chinese and get their acts together- China is here to stay! We must be prepared to compete with China and anyone else on a global level. Today Indians are sub-contracting Kenyans on technology for back office operations; the government of Kenya has announced that each constituency will have a technology village. In the Sameer Export Processing Zones we have American Corporations run by Kenyans on Kenyan soil but the call centre customer has no clue and does not care who handles the call! The world has truly flattened. To appropriately brand yourself, you must understand globalization and the flattening of the world. I heard a serious joke the other day that not long ago mothers threatened their kids in America to think of the starving Indians and eat their food; I hear that today they are implored to read or an Indian will take their jobs! To project yourself as a powerful brand in the world we must understand globalization.
  5. Jobs have been re-engineered and continue to be re-engineered by technology. I joined Sameer Africa 2 years ago. Six of us had 6 secretaries. Today we share 2! It takes weeks or months before anyone types a letter for me in the office! Today you can buy your air-ticket from the comfort of your office or home; print your boarding pass and show up at immigration. Travel agency has been totally re-engineered by technology- what next? You must think and brand yourself appropriately!
  6. To create a brand of yourself you must stop thinking employment/employee and begin to see yourself as an independent contractor irrespective of whether you are a cleaner, a CEO, a teacher or a middle executive. No independent contractor will refuse to show up for work or do a shoddy job because the repercussions will be major in lost income and bad future references. A couple of years ago a Jewish friend who thought I was a good brand stopped me at a roundabout to offer to ask whether I would take a job contract with a certain company! I did and it was one of my most lucrative jobs. Not long ago I negotiated a very good job contract in a Java Coffeehouse! I tell people that I am not employed by Sameer Africa- I work with Sameer Africa and my intentions are to passionately deliver an extra-ordinary performance that will raise my brand equity higher! Begin to be known as the best Accountant around; the best lawyer; the best sales person; the best at whatever you do- it is at the heart of the brand you wish to become. You are Chairman/CEO/of life; forget that you work for someone. It is liberating like you cannot imagine. In the same way Coccola, Yana, Keringet are powerful brands, you need to make Kamau, Otieno or Kioko a powerful brand! You must understand that it does not work any longer to tell a prospective employer that I was Finance Director, or General Manager of XYZ- You must say what it is you achieved- A measurable achievement! I know this one man that was CEO of a company that then fired him many years ago and for the last 20 years all he has told anybody who cares to listen is that he used to be the CEO of XYZ….! He made a poor brand of himself and no one ever employed him again.
  7. To brand yourself, you must pass what one management writer called the Painter test. Imagine that your painter did not turn up for work would you pay him on a daily rate? Why is it then that a manager who habitually misses work and deadlines only gets away with a down grading on his/her annual appraisal while a painter would go without pay? Would you recommend a painter who misses to show up or does a shoddy job? In the same measure a Brand You requires that you pass this test. This test is increasingly becoming the measure in an era of performance management.
  8. Branding yourself for success demands that you exercise power that is far beyond what is vested in your employment, contract or work environment. I tell those wishing to grow their careers that authority is never given; authority must be grabbed. Most well branded managers know that you take action and then seek affirmation- Powerlessness is indeed a state of mind. I have done things in the past that even my immediate boss could not have the “power” or “authority” to do. I once successfully recommended to my boss’s boss to relieve him of his job and give it to me. I got it without undermining anyone!
  9. Powerful branding demands a high level of moral authority. This is the highest form of authority anyone can have- far higher and transcendent than any form of formal authority. Moral authority will give you access to people and places you have never imagined. It increases your brand visibility. This is the kind of authority Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King etc had. Moral authority gives you access to a very large circle of influence. I am sure Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai will be remember far into the future for the moral authority she built than for the fact that she was in parliament! Recently I conceived an idea to strengthen the activities of Palmhouse Foundation- an educational trust I co-founded with my wife and whose mission is to finance the secondary education of bright and deserving children. I invited 13 extremely highly regarded and placed Kenyans to become the Advisory and Oversight Board. Some are men and women I would otherwise hesitate to ask for any kind of favor because of their high status in society. Not one of them turned down the request! And why? What authority did I have? I have moral authority. Moral authority belongs to those who offer themselves for the well being of others. The reward you get is a powerful circle of influence and a very high brand visibility! Many of you know me for higher positions I have held in society but I can guarantee you that none of those positions would beat the Palmhouse Foundation and its moral signature on my life.
  10. Personal branding demands higher credibility. Credibility comes from trust. I recommend a book by the chairman of one of the leading companies in the USA titled “winners never cheat”. Those looking to establish a truly transcendent brand must be trusted. I have on many occasions told the story of a man who years ago offered me a seven digit “thank you” for something he perceived I did for him. I was aware that I had done nothing out of my work/job and he had won the contract transparently and performed it judiciously. I turned down his thank you offer. To this day he remains perhaps one of my greatest brand testimony to many in his very wide and global circle of influence! Credibility and trust are central to protecting your brand equity! Nothing will kill your self-confidence and self worth as taking a bribe and no matter how rich you become through this avenue, you will remain a weak brand in the market. I know many seemingly successful and rich people who would pay anything to increase their brand presence but their credibility kills it!
  11. To increase brand visibility it would help to build yourself a website. I have had one since 2003! Some of the most incredible lessons I learn today are from some of you who visit and post messages on my website. It is need not be the most state of the art. Very soon a website will become as much a necessity as an email address and if you do not have one you are “mteja” – you cannot be reached. Four months ago I received an email from Australia from a man I do not know. He was looking for the founder/chairman of Group Four Security a gentleman by the name Ed Van Tongeren. He told me in an email that he had been looking for him for a long time because he once saved his life many years ago but they lost contact. When he went to the World Wide Web and searched, the only Ed Van Tongeren was mention in a speech I posted on my website. I was able to connect the two gentlemen. I trust you understand the power of the website.
  12. Finally learn and upgrade your skills to improve the brand you! Read voraciously. I am an accountant, lawyer and motivational public speaker! To retain my command on these and many areas I have to read widely. Only this way can you learn to anticipate the future! People ask me where we get the time. I respond by saying to them redeem time! Many people spend unnecessary time on TV, and reading newspaper from end to end. Like my chairman likes to put it by the time you finish reading the news paper your morale is so reduced by the bad news that are the hallmark of our newspapers that your output is greatly reduced. I read all my three papers in about 10 minutes and if I missed to read them I would not notice. I can go without TV for days. I choose to do things like reading that enhances my brand.

Having spoken about how to set targets and brand ourselves for success, I will conclude by trying to answer the question often posed;

How much success does a man need?

I will attempt to answer this question with a short story told by the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in his book- “How much land does a man need”. In this book he narrates the story of a man who was asked to walk all the land he needed as long as he had to be at the starting point before darkness. The deal then was that he would get all the land as far as he walked and back. He started at day break and walked and walked and walked. Every time he thought it was time to start heading back he would think of a little more land to walk ahead.
The sun started threatening to go down and he started walking back. The sun was now threatening to set faster. He began to run. He ran, and ran and ran. He tried harder and faster. Finally as the darkness was about to fall he crossed the finishing line with final leap and fell on the ground with blood oozing out of his mouth he died! His servant who had accompanied him dug a shallow grave long and deep enough to bury his master’s dead body. Leo Tolstoy answered his question- how much land does a man need? – Only enough to cover him from the head to the toe.

How much success do you need?

Thank you and God bless you.

©Eric Kimani 2007.